Why Do Young People Engage in Delinquency and Problem Drinking? Views From Adolescents and Stakeholders

Angela Curcio, Vikki Knott, Anita MAK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Socially deviant and health-compromising behaviours are prevalent among adolescents living in Australia. The aim of this study was to explore from the perspectives of adolescents, and those involved in the provision of their care, potential reasons for youth delinquency and problematic drinking styles. Methods: Participants were recruited purposively and comprised adolescents (n=16) and stakeholders (n=20), including youth mental health workers (n=7), school teachers/counsellors (n=7), and police officers (n=6). An open-ended question was used to prompt group discussion around why young people engage in deviant behaviour, including problem drinking. Responses were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Participants identified a number of factors that potentially underpin delinquent behaviour. These results were summarised within three global themes: social determinants (e.g., parenting practices), reinforcement histories (e.g., social endorsement), and individual determinants (e.g., personality traits). Conclusion: Multidisciplinary interventions addressing these causes are likely to result in optimal outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-361
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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